'Deadline,' 'Tucker,' and 'Yes, Dear' are among this season's debuts

By EW Staff
September 29, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

CONCEPT Exploring pubescence with a smart-alecky kid and a nutty family situation. In other words, Malcolm in the Hormones.
THE SCOOP Says cocreator Ron Milbauer, ”Once we thought of the situation where Tucker [star Eli Marienthal] has to move in with his aunt and his cousin, which of course he doesn’t like, a lot of issues started coming up — like his lack of control, his lack of privacy.” Any subplots? ”There’s this ongoing thing where he’s trying to get McKenna, the girl next door.” Two things: That’s get as in, um, nail? Plus, Seth Green, the werewolf from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will play McKenna’s boyfriend — so Tucker had better watch for full moons. Says Milbauer, ”Tucker’s not always going to do the right, moral thing.”
BOTTOM LINE Caked with lines like ”Your Mom’s a PIECE!” and ”I’ve just seen her hoots!” this is pure sludge. Uh-oh — Mr. Milbauer, it’s Senator Lieberman on line 1 and Tipper Gore on line 2!

CONCEPT Two couples grapple with marriage and kids.
THE SCOOP ”It’s a complete yin and yang of how to raise children,” says star Anthony Clark. ”Me and my wife [Jean Louisa Kelly] are overly concerned about everything. Mike O’Malley and Liza Snyder are like, ‘whatever.”’
BOTTOM LINE Just the word we were going to use to describe the pilot!

CONCEPT Oliver Platt is a newspaper columnist and journalism teacher who also solves crimes. And you thought you were multitasking.
THE SCOOP In addition to big-screen fixture Platt (Indecent Proposal), this Dick Wolf-produced hour boasts the season’s classiest supporting cast, with Lili Taylor playing a society columnist, Hope Davis as Platt’s estranged wife, Bebe Neuwirth as Platt’s editor, and Tom Conti as his publisher. No wonder NBC picked this thing up without a complete pilot filmed. As Wolf says: ”What do we have to do with Platt, prove that he’s not going to bump into the furniture?”
BOTTOM LINE If viewers buy Platt in his omnipresent bow ties and scarves, he could become a franchise detective — a sort of natty Columbo.